PhD student, James Baker's, research to feature in Journal of Fluid Mechanics

James Baker (PhD Student 2012-2016) has just had his paper on "segregation-induced finger formation in granular free-surface flows" highlighted on the front cover of the Christmas Day edition of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.

Journal of Fluid Mechanics Cover
Christmas Day edition of Journal of Fluid Mechanics


In his PhD, James investigated a phenomenon in which granular avalanches, such as debris flows and snow avalanches, split into several separate 'fingers'. This fingering causes the avalanche to travel further, and so increases the hazard it poses.

James developed a mathematical model that was able to capture this finger formation process. Larger grains in an avalanche are segregated to the surface and are preferentially transported to the flow front, where they accumulate. As the quantity of these large coarse particles increases, the front becomes highly resistive to flow, and the avalanche pushes the coarse particles aside to form a series of beautiful fingers. The front cover of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics shows James' photo of these fingers in a small scale laboratory flow.


Video for JFM cover story

James successfully defended his PhD in September 2016 and is now working as a Postdoc at the University of Sydney.

PhD projects following on from this work are still available from Dr Chris Johnson and Prof Nico Gray.


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